If you dislike marketing or simply find it a frustrating waste of time and money, today’s post is especially for you.
Just how frustrating is marketing?
The vast majority of small business owners I’ve spoken to over the past 25 years, work hard. They put a lot of hours in, too. Yet they feel compelled to tell me that when it comes to marketing their products or services, they’re lazy.
And it’s just not true.
So, why do they think they’re being lazy about their marketing?
They regard marketing as being dull (which it is) and pushy (which it is) and irritating (which it is). So they quite understandably try to avoid it.
They see that avoidance as being lazy. However, it’s completely natural to want to avoid things that are dull and irritating. We avoid crap and marketing is a constant source of dull, irritating crap.
- Marketing is responsible for the junk mail and spam that clogs up our inbox.
- Marketing is behind those unsolicited telemarketing calls that interrupt us at home with our family.
- Marketing is the reason strangers pester us in the street with flyers.
- Marketing is responsible for the sales spam that floods social media.
- Marketing is also responsible for pushy connection requests from salespeople on Linkedin.
- Marketing is the cause of all those repetitive commercials that ruin every piece of media we consume.
This begs the question: How do you grow your business without marketing?
Drop marketing. Replace it with something better
If you dislike marketing and are not happy with the way your business is growing, it’s time to replace it with something better.
Something that will instinctively feel right.
Something you won’t want to avoid.
Something that’s just a natural extension of the work you do.
Allow me to explain, along with a few examples.
Better than marketing
Imagine you’re walking in the park on a scorching hot day. You didn’t bring enough water and now you’re feeling really, really thirsty. It’s getting warmer. You notice your throat is now dry. Thankfully, you finally spot a sign for ice-cold drinks with an arrow pointing to a small hut. You walk over, buy a bottle of water and eagerly gulp it down. You then buy another bottle for you to enjoy on your journey home. You thank the vendor and head back.
That sign with the arrow, saying ‘ice-cold drinks’ didn’t feel like marketing.
It didn’t pester you, it didn’t bore you, it wasn’t dull and it certainly was not an unwanted interruption. It was exactly what you were looking for. And the vendor just sold a couple of bottles of water to a very happy customer.
Better than marketing
I recall walking into the study to ask my wife, (Sharon) if she wanted a coffee. I quickly noticed that she was listening to an interview with a musician, whose work she loves. He was talking about his new album and the inspiration behind some of the tracks. Like thousands of other listeners, Sharon was buying the album as he spoke.
That radio interview sure didn’t feel like marketing.
Sharon had been looking forward to the interview all morning. She was listening intently and enthusiastically as the musician spoke. He wasn’t being dull and she was delighted after enjoying his interview and ordering the new album. The musician was happy having had a great interview and probably selling tons of albums. The radio show had just provided a great 30 minutes of entertainment.
Better than marketing
Just after the passing of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, a pundit made a point that I’d never noticed before. She said that almost every time the public saw him, Steve Jobs was selling us something. I found that interesting, partly because it had never crossed my mind before, despite watching all his Apple presentations. And partly because I’ve spent thousands (and thousands) of dollars on Apple technology.
Those presentations certainly didn’t feel like marketing.
I loved listening to Jobs, so he was never an unwelcome interruption. I found his passion and showmanship infectious. His delivery of information was like a master-class in communications. I’d regarded his presentations as entertaining, must-see ‘events’. I bought Apple products that I’ve enjoyed using and never regretted. Jobs and Apple made a fortune in sales every time he spoke. Apple are now one of the biggest corporations in history.
Also better than marketing
People like myself, who share our knowledge in a newsletter or blog don’t need to market what we do. People hire us, knowing in advance what to expect. We simply make it easy to contact us and we keep being useful. It’s a joy to share useful ideas. Our audience gets some useful advice. Everyone’s happy.
Talking about joy…
What about those wonderful business owners who bake joy into the very process of doing business with them? They attract customers like moths to a flame. They also retain their customers for longer. These are the happiest business owners and their customers are happy too. Everyone’s happy.
Business doesn’t have to be dull and uninspiring. It’s a choice. A really bad choice, but a choice nonetheless.
With this in mind, there’s an obvious way forward.
Follow your heart and your head
Follow your heart: If you dislike the prescriptive marketing bullshit that’s based around pestering, interrupting and irritating people, please stop. You won’t be very good at it and it will make you miserable.
Follow your head: If you want to thrive, you’ll need to replace bullshit marketing with something better.
The examples I’ve shared are all things that have been baked into the way a business, or person, does business. Natural consequences of their day-to-day workflow. And by default, these are non-prescriptive. I know from the work I do on this with clients every day, that your specific mix must be developed around you, the kind of business you want and your unique personality.
That’s how to grow your business in a way that feels natural and authentic. And it’s how you create a business that thrives for you on every possible level.